A Simpler Way to Stay Organized and Popularize Your Work


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 18, 2023

4 min read


A Simpler Way to Stay Organized and Popularize Your Work

In today's fast-paced world, staying organized can be a challenge. Whether you have a demanding job or an ambitious project, finding a system that works for you is crucial. That's where Workflowy comes in. With its user-friendly interface and innovative features, Workflowy offers a simpler way to organize your work and be your trusty sidekick.

But what makes something popular? Why do certain songs, movies, or ideas spread like wildfire while others fall flat? Derek Thompson, author of "Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction," explores these questions and reveals fascinating insights into the science behind popularity.

One key finding is that familiarity trumps novelty. We are naturally drawn to things that remind us of what we already know and love. We crave that sense of nostalgia and comfort. This applies not only to products but also to creative works like music and movies. We love new songs that use familiar chord structures and movies that are sequels or adaptations. Familiarity creates a sense of connection and resonance with the audience.

Additionally, the way information spreads is crucial. Thompson explains that it's not about a million one-to-one moments but rather a handful of one-to-one-million moments. In other words, it's not the quantity of interactions that matters but the quality. Broadcast mechanisms play a significant role in disseminating content, far more than social mechanisms. The distribution strategy and the sources that these pieces of content hit are more important than the content itself.

Emotionality also plays a significant role in popularizing content. We are more likely to connect with and share content that evokes strong emotions. Whether it's joy, sadness, or nostalgia, tapping into our emotions is a powerful way to make a lasting impact.

But familiarity and emotionality are not enough. Thompson argues that the distribution mechanism is equally, if not more, important. Repetition, for example, is the "god particle" of music. It is what distinguishes ordinary noise from a catchy song. The human brain craves repetition and variation in a specific sequence. Similarly, the rhyme to reason effect shows that we are more likely to believe ideas or slogans if they contain elements of rhyme and musicality.

Identity is another crucial factor in popularity. People need identities, and these identities are often formed in opposition to others. Thompson introduces the concept of MAYA (Most Advanced Yet Acceptable) to explain the delicate balance between neophilia (the love for new things) and neophobia (the fear of the new). To sell something surprising, make it familiar. But to sell something familiar, make it surprising. It's all about finding that sweet spot that resonates with the target audience.

Interestingly, our tastes seem to crystallize by our 30s. Spotify data suggests that by the age of 33, people stop listening to new songs entirely. This finding aligns with the idea that our identities solidify as we grow older, and we become less open to new experiences. The same pattern applies to politics, with the sensitive period falling between the mid-teens and late 20s.

Now that we understand some of the science behind popularity, how can we apply these insights to our own work? Here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Embrace familiarity: Incorporate elements that remind your audience of what they already know and love. Whether it's in the design of a product or the structure of a presentation, familiarity creates a sense of connection and comfort.
  • 2. Tap into emotions: Craft your content in a way that evokes strong emotions. Whether it's through storytelling, visuals, or music, emotions play a crucial role in capturing and retaining the attention of your audience.
  • 3. Focus on distribution: Pay close attention to how your work is being distributed. Identify the key channels and sources that have the potential to reach a wide audience. It's not just about creating great content; it's about ensuring that it reaches the right people in the right way.

In conclusion, staying organized and popularizing your work may seem like separate endeavors, but they share common principles. Workflowy offers a simpler way to stay organized by providing a user-friendly platform to manage your tasks and projects. Understanding the science behind popularity, as explored by Derek Thompson, can help you make your work more appealing and widely recognized. By incorporating familiarity, emotions, and a strategic distribution strategy, you can increase the chances of your work resonating with your audience and achieving the recognition it deserves.

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